Gaelcholáiste is first Limerick school to win empathy award

Students from Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh with Laura Duff and Rachel Gleeson of Narrative 4 and teachers Sarah O'Connor and Niamh McGrath.

GAELCHOLÁISTE  Luimnigh is the county’s first recipient of the Narrative 4 Empathy School award that recognises secondary schools for the promotion of  empathy, kindness and connection among students and staff.

Narrative 4 Ireland programme coordinator Laura Duff said that staff and students at Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh have done amazing work in the past year to secure the Bronze Empathy School award.

“Empathy is an important life skill that allows us to identify how others are feeling, to build positive relationships and combat bullying and conflict amongst young people,” Ms Duff explained.

“The staff at Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh have undergone training and the students have taken part in a variety of activities like the Story Exchange and the Narrative 4km Walk and Talk. These activities are designed to improve student’s wellbeing through connection and physical activity.”

Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh teacher Niamh McGrath said that the Story Exchange and the N4km Walk and Talk events improved relationships within the class and they were looking forward to going for the Silver award next year.

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Co-founded in 2012 by New York-based Irish author Colum McCann, who went on to bring it to Ireland in 2016, Narrative 4 has trained hundreds of teachers and youth workers to deliver an evidence-based teaching method that fosters connection, empathy and encourages positive relationships in the classroom.

It has won several awards and praise from students, parents, teachers as well as receiving recognition and support from organisations such as Rethink Ireland, the JP McManus Fund, the Ireland Funds, and Creative Ireland.

Stating that Narrative 4 offers benefits across society, Colum McCann said it was clear that there is potential to do so much more.

“We’re at a real turning point in our world, and I think this can be a transformative moment for the better. Change starts with education, and by giving our young people the right opportunities. That’s why we developed this award. Our hope is that it provides a valuable and timely offering for schools.

“I’ve seen first-hand how this work brings benefits to staff, students and, in fact, entire school cultures. This ripples into our homes and into society, creating a kinder and more nuanced world, something that is very much needed right now.”

More information here 

Gaelcholáiste Luimnigh teachers Sarah O’Connor and Niamh McGrath with the Empathy School Bronze Award for their work with students.